Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#7 Columbus Blue Jackets 6 vs.
#8 N.Y. Rangers -120
Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 7:05pm EST
Madison Square Garden, New York
Written by Valdis Pans

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With four victories in their last five matchups, the New York Rangers (7th in Metropolitan Division) are preparing to host the Columbus Blue Jackets (4th in Metropolitan), who have triumphed in four straight games…

Jackets Blank New Jersey

A back-to-back weekender started with another shutout for the Columbus Blue Jackets (25-16-8), who ended a three-game homestand with a 5-0 blanking of the New Jersey Devils yesterday, thus recording their fourth straight victory and third shutout in the last four games. The Jackets are 14-2-4 in their previous 20 contests, currently sitting 4th in the Metropolitan Division with 58 points from 49 fixtures. They are 10-7-6 on the road for the season thus far, with Pierre-Luc Dubois leading the side with 34 points. He has also notched a team-high 15 goals alongside Zach Werenski (29 points).

Goalie Elvis Merzlikins has already made 20 appearances (18 starts) this year, picking up all three latest shutouts of the Blue Jackets. He is 8-6-4 for the current campaign with a 2.36 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Merzlikins has never faced the New York Rangers before, but is 2-2-0 against the Metropolitan Division historically with a 2.79 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Columbus, meanwhile, is 8th in least goals scored per game (2.69), 3rd in least goals allowed on average (2.53), 23rd in power play (17.2%) and 9th in penalty kill (82.3%).

Rangers Beat Isles Twice

Two straight victories against the New York Islanders (6-2 in Manhattan; 3-2 on Long Island) have brought the New York Rangers (23-19-4) straight back into the game after the team dropped a 5-2 decision versus the St. Louis Blues last Saturday. With that, the Blueshirts have now gone 4-1-0 in their past five matchups after posting a three-game losing run prior (0-3-0). They are 7th in the Metropolitan Division with 50 points from 46 outings, boasting a 13-8-2 home record. Artemi Panarin leads the team with 26 goals and 68 points.

With 21 starts and 22 overall appearances so far this year, goalie Alexandar Georgiev has gone 12-9-1 for the ongoing campaign with a 3.06 GAA and a .913 save percentage. He has recorded a 2-1-1 career total against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 3.66 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The Rangers, meanwhile, are scoring the 6th highest quantity of goals per game (3.37), while conceding the 6th highest bulk in their defensive zone (3.28). They are 10th in power play (21.0%) and 19th in penalty kill (79.3%).

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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After losing three contests in a row from New Year’s Eve to Jan. 4, the Rangers have gone on to triumph in four of their subsequent five outings, currently riding a two-game winning run. The surge in form, though, will do little to overcome the Blue Jackets, who have been excellent lately, collecting points in 18 of their last 20 games (14-2-4). Columbus has banked four straight wins overall, three consecutive victories in Manhattan and five triumphs in six fixtures contested on the last night of a 4-games-in-6-days scenario. The Blueshirts have already dropped 19 of their past 26 outings played on Sundays and will not find it easy versus the Blue Jackets, even with Columbus playing without a breather!

Prediction: Columbus Blue Jackets (+105)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Out of the very last 12 meetings between the Rangers and the Blue Jackets in New York, 10 have gone past the set goal-mark, delivering an average of 7.20 strikes per contest. So, do expect this one to go over the total once again! The very last seven domestic matchups of the Rangers have already ended on the high-scoring side, averaging 7.86 goals per encounter, with seven of their past nine games versus sides with a winning record also being filled with plenty of markers.

Prediction: Over 6
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Written By Valdis Pans

Valdis got his first ever article published when he was 13, and has rarely stopped. He has worked for FHM, MTV Baltics and has done loads of freelance (from columns for Cosmopolitan magazine to helping with organization of Macy Gray's shows in the Northern Europe). Speaks five different languages, loves pizza, American Horror Story and pipe organ music, and knows European soccer better than dates of his family members' birthdays. Is an avid fan of ice-hockey too. He is a Latvian after all...